Since the General and Jenny's brothers were staying in town to keep an eye on their soldiers, it was really the first time Jesse and Jenny had been alone since the night they'd been married.
Jesse had yet to get a bath, so Jenny was heating water on the stove and pouring it into the tub in the bedroom. Jesse had a sudden fantasy about him and Jenny sharing a bath. He was deeply tempted to bring that fantasy to life, but Jenny was so young. She was turning seventeen in just three weeks, he had discovered, still, he wasn't sure.
She had a beautiful innocence in her stubborn eyes, and he was hesitant to take that from her. While his mind was on whether or not to take her to bed, Jenny was humming happily, seeming content and satisfied. Their shelves were fully stocked, and she seemed to be happy about that.
He liked that, making her happy. She said she wanted a baby, she was happy to be married and happy to have this new life. She picked up the pot, using a towel to wrap around the handle, and walked into the other bedroom to pour it into the tub. "It's ready." she announced as she came back out. "I'll get dinner started."
Jesse pulled off his boots, decided not now. He walked into the other room, stripped down, and stepped into the tub. The warm water felt good against his muscles. He leaned back and used his hat to cover his face. He was relaxing, even falling asleep, then heard her enter the room. She seemed to be moving quickly, and when he pulled his hat off to watch her empty dirty water from a washing bowl, he noticed she was intentionally averting her eyes.
For some reason he couldn't understand, that made him angry. He supposed it was because in his way of seeing it, a man and his wife shouldn't be afraid to see each other naked. So he cupped his hands in the water, poured the warm water over his head, washing the dirt from his hair and face.
Jenny turned with the bowl in her hands, keeping her eyes down as she quickly made her way back toward the other room. "Jenny." Jesse said, making her stop.
Her eyes met his quickly then flickered away again.
"Did you need something?" she asked, fighting to smile and not seem so nervous.
Taking his time, he slowly stood, stepping out of the tub, then made his way over to her. Her cheeks were burning red with heat. He thought it funny how the night before she had practically begged him to be her husband in this way.
He brushed her hair aside, and leaned down and kissed her neck. Her heart was beating rapidly against her chest. He took the bowl from her hands and set it aside. He stepped behind her, began unbuttoning her dress slowly, taking his time. He slid it off her shoulders, kissed them.
She was intentionally taking slow breaths, he noticed. He traced his fingers down her back, making her shudder. He felt impatience suddenly, and turned her around and pulled her against him then picked her up. He carried her over to their bed, laid her down carefully, then kissed her on the lips, felt her kiss him back.
Jesse pulled the dress down farther, until he had it off and she was in her under garments. Jesse kissed her again, and heard the knocking on the front door. He sighed in annoyance. Who came to a newlywed's house after dark? Surely people knew better. He got up, grabbed his trousers and pulled them on. "Put on your dress Jenny." he muttered then shut the bedroom door behind him.
He opened the door to Jeff and Lucy, raised an eyebrow at them. "Come for a visit?" he asked. "After dark?"
Jeff smiled. "Lucy heard Jenny got a new dress today. She wanted to come see it, and give Jenny some jam."
"Come on in, I'll get a shirt on." Jesse said, and let them in then closed the door once they were inside. He walked into his bedroom, saw Jenny struggling with the buttons on her dress.
He walked over to her, turned her around and finished buttoning the dress himself. He did it with sorrow, wishing to see her out of it instead.
"Thank you Jesse." she whispered, smiling at him.
He frowned back. "Jeff and Lucy stopped by." he explained.
She smiled at his disappointment. "Well, I'm sure they won't stay all night." she assured him then kissed him quickly on the lips. "Now you finish your bath Jesse Thomas before the water gets cold. Jeff and Lucy will just have to wait. I'll have supper ready soon." She left the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Jesse smiled, pulled off his trousers and sank back into the water, listening to Lucy and his wife talk as he washed up. Jenny promised to show Lucy her new dress just as soon as Jesse was done bathing. He felt bad for it, but he was eager for his sister and her husband to leave so he could pick up where he and Jenny left off.
He'd yet to make love to his wife and this was the second time Lucy was responsible for stopping him. So when Jesse finished his bath and dressed, he walked out of the room, straight over to Jenny, and turned her around and kissed her on the mouth deeply, dipping her to show enthusiasm.
Jenny was red with embarrassment but he got his point across to Jeff he knew. So when Lucy asked to have coffee after dinner Jeff told her another time and bade that they go home. She had looked confused and a little upset, but Jeff had only smiled and kept saying it was time to go. Realization had never dawned on her face, but Jesse knew she'd figure it out on the ride home.
When Jeff and Lucy were far from sight, Jesse went back into the house and found Jenny doing the dishes. He closed the front door, walked over to her, and swept her into his arms, making her gasp. He carried Jenny back to their bedroom and continued where they left off, unbuttoning her dress.